Some of the most challenging conversations, in almost any relationship, are the ones about money. This is certainly true as farmers and landowners negotiate lease agreements and worker wages for the year ahead. As with all statistics, just knowing the average is only part of the story, but at least it offers a reference point for both parties to begin those awkward conversations.
The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) annually surveys farm owners/managers to provide average land rental rates. Unfortunately their survey summary does not offer the range of rates paid, but does offer county, regional, or state averages. The following is a summary of the information NASS provided on average land rental rates on an annual per acre basis for Jackson County Farms and across Northwest Florida based on 2020 responses to annual surveys.
Average Farm Rental Rates
The average dryland, rain-fed, or non-irrigated crop rental rate in 2020 was $62, which which was also the average rate across the Panhandle. The average dryland rental rate remained unchanged from what was reported for Jackson County in 2019, but was $6/acre lower than the $68 average reported for all Northwest Florida Counties in 2019. Dryland crop rental rates ranged from a low of $37.50 per acre in Okaloosa County to a high of $101/acre that was reported for Escambia County.
The average rental rate for irrigated crop land in Jackson County dropped from $188/acre in 2019 to $168/acre in 2020. The average irrigated rental rate for Southeast Alabama was $164/acre, for Southwest Georgia was $222/acre, and for the Southeast Region was $204.
USDA did not report an average pasture rental rate specific to Jackson County in 2020. The $37/acre rate shown in the chart above was the rate reported in 2019. In 2020, Jackson County was included in the report under the heading, “Other Counties” with an average rate of $42.50/acre in 2020. The average pasture rental rate for all of the Northwest Florida Counties was $32 in 2020, which was a decrease from the $34.50 reported in 2019. Pasture rental rates in 2020 ranged from a low of $22/acre in Washington County to the high of $42.50 reported for Other NW FL Counties.
Average Florida Farm Worker Wages
USDA’s National Agriculture Statistic Service (NASS) does not report county specific rates for farm worker wages. They also use very broad categories, so the reported figures in the chart above are for Florida farm workers. The wages for all workers dropped slightly to $12.52/hour in 2020, as compared to 2019. Crop worker wages also decreased to $11.65 from $11.75 in 2019. Animal worker wages increased from $11.52 in 2019 to $11.80 in 2020. However, you have to realize this report is based on farmer surveys, so this variation may be simply based on who responded. So, 2020 Florida farm worker wage rates are pretty similar to what was reported in 2019.
NASS Ag Statistics
The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistic Services (NASS) offers a wide range of additional information based on annual surveys, as well as the Census of Agriculture every five years. To mine the data available for your county, district, state, or region, use the following link: